WF: Resting in his peace

I don’t know about you, but on Fridays I feel tired. You start Monday with the energy to take on the week. Each week brings challenges of their own and when it all ends all you want is to rest and have some peace. You don’t want to hear about the bill  that is due, the report that needs to be finished, the double game that the children have over the weekend, the grocery shopping, the house cleaning or the car cleaning, all you want to do is rest.

In the times when routine is overwhelming, but also when life gives us unpleasant surprises we want the world to stop for just a minute to help us catch up.

He says in HIS Word in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

Take five minutes which is the duration of this video to worship the Lord and rest in his peace.

Be blessed!

 

WF=Worship Friday

Moving Forward

First of all I want to apologize for not writing in the last few days, between Camp Nano and other distractions I have not been able to sit down long enough to concentrate. I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes we are affected by issues regardless if they have direct or indirect impact in our lives.

Life is never without challenges, disappointments and painful events, most of them out of our control. The way we react to those events and the way we view those events will determine our behavior and ultimately potential future outcomes.

When something unexpected affects negatively our lives its very common to feel anger, sadness, shock, resentment, disappointment, grief and many other negative feelings. Ephesians 4:26 reads “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” but I know there are wounds that are longer lasting, however once the sun comes back up, it may be time to start our baby steps back on the road of life.

We believe that we have no control over those feelings and that’s not totally true. Yes, those feelings are normal. We should not stuff them or deny them. We should talk about them and process them, the problem arises when we sulk and get stuck on them.

At some point the grieving process of an event runs its course and yes, the timing is different for everyone, but when the grief hinders you from functioning, you’ve gone too long.

That’s why I say that you can ultimately impact your future outcomes, for example…the loss of a relationship may be devastating, but it could open the door to self examination, discovery and the potential of a new, sometimes even better relationship. The loss of a loved one is devastating, but if you have faith that they are in a place of no pain and no sorrow, that will give you hope. The loss of employment or some other financial loss will not be easy to recover until you get back on your feet.

Feel what you need to feel, process what you need to process, but then it’s time to get up and move on. Trust that God will make everything right and that he’s in control. That there’s no evil that will not be avenged and no good deed unrewarded.

Faith will get you through

Be blessed.

The undesired mission

The first thing I read this morning was about Moses talking to God about why was he the chosen one to free the Israelites from Egypt. He was not thrilled with God choosing him for this mission. I love the book of Exodus and Moses is one of my favorite characters in the Bible, so I can’t deny feeling for Moses on this one…LOL!

In Exodus 3:10-4:13, you can read the conversation where God tells Moses to do. Moses gives God every reason why he’s not the right person for the job. God basically tells him, I created you therefore I’ll equip you and poor Moses comes back with a whine… Why me? Send someone else…

How many times have we been in that situation? God places in your heart to witness to someone and it happens to be someone you don’t like much. Or he calls you to be part of a ministry but that’s not what you like to do. Better yet, just like the parable of the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) where you are asked to leave it all behind and start from scratch. Can you hear that whiney noise in your head yet?

One of the things that I’ve discovered in my life journey is that everything in our lives has a purpose and it becomes useful at different stages. If we believe in a life with purpose then we would need to admit that our missions are handpicked for us.

As I meditate of why Moses would had been the person for the job; not only he was an Israelite which connected him with God’s people, but he had been raised in the palace with Pharaoh. He knew the ins and outs, how things worked. It’s kind of like being bilingual, you’re the perfect person for the job if it involves being in the middle of things that involved both languages or cultures.

But just like Moses we don’t tend to see how we are perfect for the job and its mostly because we don’t want to do the jobs for whatever reason: fear, feelings of inadequacy, out of our comfort zone, disobedience, etc.

I remember a trying time in my life where God placed people who had gone through some of my trials and worse. I remember saying, “it’s not that I’m happy with your suffering, but I’m glad you understand”. Every test in our life is a testimony in the making and it’s a tool in our belt for the next mission. So with that in mind, how will you respond the next time you are called into action?

Could you imagine what would happen if our armed forces or our law enforcement officers declined their missions? Food for thought soldier of God!

 

 

Blessings!

The hair clip from hell!

Have you ever heard that we are affected by things, people and places? The results can be both negative and positive and sometimes without our conscious acknowledgement. We live our life day by day and our life gets transformed for good or bad and it’s not until we make a pause that we realize how far we’ve gone; either towards our purpose or away from it.

There’s a particular thing that was a symbol in my life for a long time without my conscious knowledge, it was a hair clip. Apparently when I was very angry I would pulled my hair up, others will say that it was very high, and that I placed the hair clip on the top of my head. It was an unconscious thing.

I use to be a manager, and I heard some of my employees pass by my cubicle and announce, “oh oh hair clip is on”. I never paid attention, I thought it was a joke, until one day someone who I was in a relationship with and I were having a phone conversation. It was more an argument. He got quiet and said. “I bet your hair is up” and when I touched my hair, he was right. This same individual had a fist fight with his brother. I was called by a neighbor who couldn’t pulled them apart. I asked to be placed on the phone with my boyfriend and announced that I was on my way. When I made it to his place the guys were in separate rooms, I talked to “my guy” and started asking questions about the fight, he kept staring at me in silence. Finally he said,” I’m not talking to you until your hair comes down” I started laughing and pulled the clip off. This was over five years ago.

Why a hair clip story? During the last five to six years God has been working on me. I’m not sure if I had an anger issue, it was more a legalistic spirit. Everything needed to be in a way (usually my way) and I was miserable. If things were not inside the mold I would not only be upset but angry.  As things started changing in me I started enjoying my life. I laugh more, I have less concerns and I’m way less affected by sudden changes in life.

When I stopped managing my life and surrendering it to the one that could actually do something about it I had less reasons to worry and less need to control. That gave me more time to enjoy life and do more of what I like: writing! I’m not going to say that I never get upset or angry anymore, but the clip went away from my life as I am not nearly as uptight as I used to be.

I laugh when people say how funny or laid back I am. If they only knew me then. But what about the hair clip you may ask? I have not used it in years. I realized this week how long God has brought me when I found it buried in a box.

Would you like to share things that God has changed in your life? Have you identified things, people or places that affect you positively or negatively? I would love to hear them!

Be blessed!!

Best Advice Ever

~day 17: the Kingdom of God is among you~
Image by theroamincatholic via Flickr

I was working on another article and read this. There’s not much to add or to say about it other than it is a great wake up call for everyone.

Galatians 5:18-24 (The Message)

“My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

   This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified”

Be blessed!

He’s alive!

easter-empty-tombIt is time to rejoice! There’s a party in heaven and in earth. The best party ever. They saw him bleeding, battered and bruised. Once he had exhaled and taken down from the cross his breathless body lied in the arms of his mother who cleaned his face with her tears. He was probably getting cold real quick as he had lost so much blood.

A friend of the family had a tomb that had not been used and gave it for them to put his body in there. Because it was the Sabbath and nobody was supposed to do anything, everyone left. The women came the next day to do the habitual embalming of that time and guess what? He was nowhere to be found.

Some thought that maybe someone had stole his body and they were starting to feel sadness, but then two angels told the women that he had risen as he had promised.  (Rephrasing from Luke 23 and 24)

If we think about the purpose for which we were created and how well we doslide-02 (not really) and that even then we obtain redemption because on a day like today he lives. 

If we think about other religions who worship someone who was a prophet, but there is an actual grave site where their body lies. Or those who believe that an unanimated object is their god. We have a living, breathing, Almighty, All Powerful GOD!!!!

In life, He won! In death, He won! The movie has a happy ending. Rejoice, he’s alive, he’s risen from the dead, he won it for us.!!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!

Never give up your dream: Madea’s Big Happy Family

Tyler Perry
Image by rocor via Flickr

I just finished watching Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family. I’m a big fan of Tyler Perry. I like his style in the sense that he recognizes who gave him his talent and has used it to show for it. Also the fact that through his gift he tells it like it is.

It is late at night when I’m writing this and I should be in bed by now, but I just couldn’t go to bed. God has been trying to get something across to me, and slow poke here had not caught on with the program. As some of my readers remember this post complaining about my writing.

Three years ago when I decided it was time to return to my writing roots, I didn’t think that I would pursue the dream of publishing. Now with the blessing of two short stories out there, I see the possibility of doing something I’ve always wanted to do…becoming an author! Just like when I returned, I feel alive when I do, but then I face the world and see “little me” against the world and I start doubting myself. The more research I do on how to get it done, the farther I see it coming to pass.

The whole movie was awesome. I laughed, I cried, I even had to pause the movie to call my mom just to hear her voice. At the end of the movie, Tyler addressed the audience and said that God told him how he was going to close all doors to make sure that he knew that his success came from HIM. That’s the best success any believer would want. He also talked about moving out of yourself and doing for others while God does for you. Knowing a little about Tyler’s personal journey inspired me a lot.

In different scenes and regarding different subjects the message was God knows you want to go from point A to point B and he will answer that prayer,”How bad do you want it?” Ironically, tonight at church, although the message was about finances. The pastor talked about reproducing from your talents (meaning money) but I kept hearing in my heart about my talent. He talked about how God gave us our talents for us to be stewards of those talents and produce for his kingdom.

It all came full circle. I have a plaque on my desk at work that says, “ Today there’s nothing that God and I can’t do together” Therefore, there can’t be any fear and doubt, what he gave me to produce will produce in his time and as I obediently submit my efforts to do my part. Never stop dreaming and working towards your dream. Breakthrough is around the corner.

Can you relate? Care to share?

Blessings!!!

Is the use of medicine opposing faith?

As a believer, a Christian seeks to do God’s will and remain in it. There are times where if we’re not careful, we can take a legalistic approach to the Word of God that could hinder God’s purpose in our lives. In this case I’m talking about sickness and healing.

 God CAN heal! I have no doubt. God WANTS to heal! I believe that too. Then, is it lack of faith to use medicine to deal with our illnesses? I’m not so sure. By medicine I’m not entering into the argument of natural medicine versus pharmacology. Although I personally believe that God placed one on the earth for us and gave the wisdom for the other, but that is a total separate discussion.

I’ve heard fellow Christians refuse medical treatment because they think that it would demonstrate a lack of faith in God’s power to heal. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been sick and I’ve been asked if I had prayed. I even heard someone say that they didn’t even take an aspirin but they prayed all things out. I’m not discounting the need for healing prayer and declarations. I’ve experience the power of the healing prayer. At the same time I don’t believe that I should not take vitamins, supplements or medicine just because I prayed and that the use of one doesn’t mean I have no faith in the other. 

In researching for this subject, I came across a message board that was discussing the issue and one of the participants said something that struck a cord. “This would be like saying that we will not work or pay our bills because God is our provider” It struck a cord not in a negative way; it just gave me a picture of the Israelites crossing the desert receiving manna and birds as provision. Should we now not work or go to the supermarket because that would be us telling God that we do not have faith on his provision? I don’t think so.

 I believe that just like with provision, God utilizes several methods to deliver healing. The quickest example for me was the healing of the blind man. Jesus made a paste from dirt and his own spit and healed the man and then had the man wash his face. (John 9:1-41) Jesus is God and didn’t have to go through all that trouble, but he chose to go that route.

 So what to do? Have faith in your healing, pray for your healing, believe in your healing, and ask God through which way he wants you to obtain the healing, via fasting and prayer, via forgiveness (yes, resentment and unforgiveness makes us sick) or by simply using something that he placed on earth or in our wisdom for our benefit.

I found this great pamphlet about sickness, healing and medicine all based on Scriptures that I hope you find as interesting as I did. 

http://www.eternalgod.org/lit/booklets/healing_view.pdf

Blessings!

Forgive me Father for I have sinned

Santo Domingo. Confession of a woman.
Image via Wikipedia

Confession is a part of the life of a Christian. The Bible talks about the importance of confession to be free from our sins. Each Christian denomination conceptualizes confession in a different way. As far as I know only the Catholic Church has a structure way of conceiving confession. In this structure the person reviews their conscience, goes to their priest, tells them all their sins, the priest assigns them a penance and once the penance is accomplish the sins are forgiven.

I’m not against confession, or technology for that matter, but I’m pretty baffled by the new I-phone/I-Pad confession application that Apple has recently released. The position of the Catholic Church is that they approve of it, but that it’s not a substitute for face to face confession. What does that even mean? If it’s not a substitute, those using the application would still have to do the face to face? Then, what’s the point!

I also question the potential legal implications for those using the application. Maybe I need to layoff my crime shows but, how confidential will that application be? We know that priest are the only ones covered under legal privilege of  any conversation from someone confessing to them, which I think is unfair for other religious leaders, but that’s another conversation. At the same time it’s known that if someone commits a crime or an indiscretion it would be covered under the traditional confession, but if the phone is tapped, could the police potentially have access to that information or even a private investigator?

From the spiritual standpoint, I think it would miss the purpose of confessing to another human being. We confess to God for the purpose of forgiveness, but as indicated in James 5:16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” Confession to another human being is for the person’s own healing.  How much of the counseling, prayer and healing can occur during this electronic process?

As much as I favor technology to compliment with information our spiritual walk, this is one of those occasions were in my opinion you can’t substitute human contact.

Just my humble opinion, comments agreeing or disagreeing are all welcome!

Blessings

Christ vs. Christians

Jesus
Image via Wikipedia

I have a few non Christian friends; some belong to other beliefs, some non active Christians (saved but not living for Christ), “spiritual” (those who know that God exists somewhere but have no desire to live for him) and some professed atheists. Ironically, we have a lot of religious conversation and to my surprise sometimes they know more about what Jesus said and his expectations than some of my own Christian friends. Some of them ask me to pray for them when they are in the middle of a situation.

In our conversations I’ve identified certain trends of why some of them are not attracted to Christianity, so I wanted to share them with my fellow believers, because they do have a point.

  • It’s not Him, it’s y’all-I’ve never heard even atheists’ bad mouth Jesus or Christ. It’s not Him who bothers them, they don’t like Christians. As soon as someone proclaims to be a Christian in front of them they form an expectation of how we should behave and we tend to fall really short in that expectation, giving us very little credibility to our words. In other words, our walk doesn’t match our talk.
  • Judgment-We are perceived to function out of judgment and not out of love. Some unbelievers are living lives that according to the Christian walk is outside of the “acceptable”. Some of them have had experiences were they have attempted to reach out to learn about Christ and have been received with judgment about how they are going to “burn in hell” for their actions instead of loving them through their circumstances.  I have to stop here and say that this happens to Christians who leave the faith as well or to some of those non active Christians that I was talking about. As humans, we can all fall short of the glory and what are we to do. Galatians 6:1 reads “’ Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” If the sin of that person is a personal struggle for you, don’t go there, the point is not for you to fall, but help directing the person to someone that can actually help, in love. If it’s a struggle for you, seek help, because it means that you have unresolved situations yourself.  Be honest about it. But how many times have people been humiliated and condemned for what they have done instead of pursuing their restoration.

We also sometimes forget how we got to the feet of Christ. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. Personally, when I became a Christian I was        very young, so I didn’t experience the redeeming life with Christ after big fallout. I was prideful. I didn’t understand why people couldn’t get it together, until I fell on my face and didn’t know how to come back. It was then when I understood mercy and grace. God placed loving people in my life to show me the way back, but those people never made me feel like I was scum and they were holy, which brings me to my next point.

  • Being genuine- Life in Christ is a journey not a destination. I think much is emphasized in the church and the rules than the relationship with God. With this I’m not saying that church and guidelines are not important or necessary, but many times we try to make people act a certain way that they are not ready to instead of loving them through the process and allowing the Word of God and their personal relationship to Jesus to flow and do the changes that GOD wants to make in a person, not the ones we want to see.

Just like a child knows when someone loves them or not, wounded people know too. If you honestly don’t love someone, don’t try to fake it, they will know and your words will mean nothing, especially if you’re saying that you love them in Christ.

  • Authenticity-Trying to fake life and present a holier than thou image just because you’re  a Christian and present that once you received Christ live was a bed of roses repels unbelievers more than anything.  When people are struggling, thinking that there’s no way that God would accept them where they are now, keeps them away from Christ.

I have a friend who has had some of my same struggles, she was key in my return to Christ because I saw how even though she had gone through, God made it happen for her. She taught me the steps to take out of the gutter and how I had believed the lie of no redemption and how God really wanted me, but she didn’t do it by Bible thumping although we did speak of the Word. She did it by sharing with me how through the Word, God spoke to her in her darkest moments.  Wait! She has dark moments being a Christian…Huh, there’s hope for me!

I knew then what to pray for and how to stand on the Word of God, because of her story. Is she perfect? No! Is she living a perfect rosy live now? No! She has a real life with the same struggles that everyone has, the difference is how she overcomes them and that inspires me to overcome mine and hang in there.

Why was this instrumental? Because even though I knew the Lord, up until that time those speaking into my life were just pointing out what I was doing wrong and how I was going to burn too if I didn’t get it together. If I, who knew the Lord couldn’t get back, how do you think someone who doesn’t know his love would feel even compelled to try?  Someone said that you may be the only bible someone reads. If you’re condemning other people’s lives, that’s what their erroneous bible is teaching them about a life in Christ.  If you’re not real with your own struggles and your own difficulties then, they will know that you’re not trustworthy and that the god that you claim to serve is just as phony as you are. Is that how you want to present Christ to others?

When this subject has come up I’ve told my friends to look at Christ and not at us, because we are human and jacked up. All I can do is try to live as genuine as possible, pray and allow God to work in their hearts and in mine (because I’m still a work in progress), because at the end of the day Salvation is a personal decision and it’s not me who saves, but He who lives in me.  So you my fellow believers are you living an authentic life or do you wear your Sunday mask every time you have to talk about Christ? Do you talk about Jesus, or do you try to live like Jesus?

Food for thought,

Blessings